COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, May 5 (UPI) -- Sri Lanka's president has pledged to cooperate with Tamil Tiger rebels to distribute tsunami aid, even at the risk of bringing down her government.
Chandrika Kumaratunga said she would press for a joint mechanism to handle aid, although coalition hard-liners who oppose talks with the rebels threaten to resign if the joint mechanism goes ahead, the BBC reported Wednesday.
Sri Lanka received $2 billion in aid pledges following the Dec. 26 tsunami which killed more than 30,000 Sri Lankans and left a million others homeless, but a deal on distributing the money has yet to be reached.
Areas in the north and east of the country where Tamils make up the majority of the population were among the worst affected by the tsunami. Little aid has reached some of these areas, some of which are under Tamil Tiger control.
Government-rebel cooperation would help ensure smooth distribution of aid to those regions, because many foreign donors do not want funds to go directly to the Tigers.
Kumaratunga told the state-run Daily News newspaper: "The government may fall. ... I might lose the presidency. But those things are not of national interest, unlike bringing lasting peace to the country."